PAYING RESPECTS: Army cadets honour the fallen at Joel Joel war memorial on Sunday. The cadets helped fl ood-affected farmers in the Joel Joel area with maintenance work and clearing of debris. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER YOUNG BATTLERS: Northern Grampians Shire Council has recognised 60 army cadets for helping flood-affected farmers. Stawell 303 Army Cadet Unit, featuring Corporal Sam Goyne and Corporal Tay Croft, front, and Renay Annett, Gordon Croft, Norman Evans, Lochie Donovan, Brendan Drybourgh, Axel Rann, Cassie Coad, Amy Kilpatrick and Harley Walker are thrilled to receive the award as part of the crew.

FLOOD-AFFECTED farmers along the upper Wimmera River enjoyed a morale boost when army cadets hit the area at the weekend.

About 60 cadets and seven officers braved the cold as they helped 15 farmers at Joel Joel, Campbells Bridge and Greens Creek clean up debris left after floods on December 18.

The cadets turned the Joel Joel Hall into a makeshift camp during the weekend and also performed a ceremonial parade at the town’s war memorial on Sunday.

Joel Joel farmer Ken Hall said he was overwhelmed with the help he received from the cadets.

“It was great laughing and joking with the cadets as they cleaned up debris,” he said.

“It was a massive morale boost for farmers after what has been a tough few months. The ceremony at the monument was also quite moving.”

The cadets helped Greens Creek farmer Graeme Stewart remove a fence that was destroyed in the floods and clear debris from his paddocks.

“It was just brilliant. It’s a big thing for us to receive all this help,” he said.

Northern Grampians Shire Council municipal recovery manager Greg Little said the cadets helped farmers catch up on work across their properties.

“Farmers said with cropping and other tasks they would never have got around to doing the jobs the cadets did,” he said.

“It wasn’t just having a line of 10 cadets clearing debris in a paddock farmers had the boost of knowing someone was helping them.

“The cadets also learnt a lot about farming and gave a 100 per cent effort.

“You could not have faulted the weekend.”

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